4 Apr 2005

Australia criticised for Indonesia policy

3:25 pm on 4 April 2005

American Samoa's member of the US congress has criticised the Australian government for ignoring the right of the Indonesian province of Papua to self-determination.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, who's the ranking Democratic on the Asia Pacific sub committee, which includes Oceania nations, is urging nations in the region to support Papua.

He says the people of Papua are still subject to atrocities, and countries that can make a difference are turning a blind eye, including Australia and the United States.

"Unfortunately, the Australian government seems to be bent on the idea that they don't want to balkanise Indonesia and I take strong exception to this position that Australia has taken, even my own government. The fact of the matter is this is not an internal issue. This is truly an international issue that should be considered on its merit.'"

It is expected Australia will formally recognise Indonesia's territorial integrity and oppose any independence movements as part of the treaty to be signed during this week's visit by the Indonesian president.